President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Dear Mr. President:
We former U.S. diplomats applaud our 52 British colleagues who recently
sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair criticizing his Middle East
policy and calling on Britain to exert more influence over the United
States. As retired foreign service officers we care deeply about our
nation's foreign policy and U.S. credibility in the world.
We also are deeply concerned by your April 14 endorsement of Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral plan to reject the rights of
three million Palestinians, to deny the right of refugees to return to
their homeland, and to retain five large illegal settlement blocs in
the occupied West Bank. This plan defies U.N. Security Council
resolutions calling for Israel's return of occupied territories. It
ignores international laws declaring Israeli settlements illegal. It
flouts U.N. Resolution 194, passed in 1948, which affirms the right of
refugees to return to their homes or receive compensation for the loss
of their property and assistance in resettling in a host country should
they choose to do so. And it undermines the Road Map for peace drawn up
by the Quartet, including the U.S. Finally, it reverses longstanding
American policy in the Middle East.
Your meeting with Sharon followed a series of intensive negotiating
sessions between Israelis and Americans, but which left out
Palestinians. In fact, you and Prime Minister Sharon consistently have
excluded Palestinians from peace negotiations. Former Palestinian
Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo voiced the overwhelming reaction
of people around the world when he said, "I believe President Bush
declared the death of the peace process today."
By closing the door to negotiations with Palestinians and the
possibility of a Palestinian state, you have proved that the United
States is not an even-handed peace partner. You have placed U.S.
diplomats, civilians and military doing their jobs overseas in an
untenable and even dangerous position.
Your unqualified support of Sharon's extra-judicial assassinations,
Israel's Berlin Wall-like barrier, its harsh military measures in
occupied territories, and now your endorsement of Sharon’s unilateral
plan are costing our country its credibility, prestige and friends.
It is not too late to reassert American principles of justice and
fairness in our relations with all the peoples of the Middle East.
Support negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, with the United
States serving as a truly honest broker. A return to the time-honored
American tradition of fairness will reverse the present tide of ill
will in Europe and the Middle East—even in Iraq. Because the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the core of the problems in the
Middle East, the entire region—and the world—will rejoice along with
Israelis and Palestinians when the killing stops and peace is attained.
Andrew I. Killgore, Ambassador to Qatar, 1977-1980
Richard H. Curtiss, former chief inspector, U.S. Information Agency
Colbert C. Held, Retired FSO and author
Thomas J. Carolan, Counsel General Istanbul, '88-'92
C. Edward Bernier, Counselor of Embassy, Information and Culture,
Donald A. Kruse, American Consul in Jerusalem
Ambassador Edward L. Peck, former Chief of Mission in Iraq and
John Powell, Admin Counselor in Beirut, '75-'76
John Gunther Dean, last position held U.S. Ambassador to India
Greg Thielmann, Director, Office for Strategic Proliferation Military
Affairs, Bureau of Intelligence and Research
James Akins, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Talcott Seeyle, Ambassador to Syria
Eugene Bird, Counselor of Embassy in Saudi Arabia
Richard H. Nolte, Ambassador to Egypt
Ray Close, Chief of Station Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 1971-1979
Shirl McArthur, Commercial Attache, Bangkok